A guest blog by Helen Bowman from Mrs BeeBakes
If you read my last post about starting a cake business from home, you’ll know that there are several steps you need to take BEFORE you start trading in order to stay within the law.
Serious stuff – but all very necessary to be safe and compliant. Check it out here if you haven’t already.
But now you’ve done all that, it’s time for the fun and creative side of starting a baking business – hooray! If you’re anything like me you’re much more interested in getting the apron on, switching on the oven, whipping up a batch of delicious cupcakes and working out a plan of how to let the world know you’re baking cakes!
So here are a few steps you can take to get your name out there and start this business baking!
Come up with a name for your business, design yourself a simple logo for your business cards (Canva is fabulous for such things) and start researching suppliers for your boards, boxes and supplies.
Buying boards and boxes from supermarkets is fine when you’re only making a couple of cakes a month but can soon get expensive when you need them in bulk.
Consider buying your boards, boxes and key ingredients such as flour and sugar from wholesalers or specialist cake suppliers like The Craft Company – here’s an example of the deals you can get.
This approach takes time to build up a client base, but it doesn’t cost anything and it allows you to develop your skills and back catalogue as you go. A website is helpful too, for those who don’t have Facebook, and a decent website doesn’t have to cost the earth. Start with a site on platforms such as Wordpress or Wix and see where your business goes before splashing out on expensive domains and websites. Advertise your site and social media pages on your business cards and online and you’ll soon find word begins to spread.
Stay active on your social media platforms, replying to all comments and messages and encouraging your audience to engage. If people are aware that you’re baking they’ll remember you when they need a cake.
Tell everyone you know that you’re baking cakes as a business. Ask them to spread the word and share your social media pages and website on local business forums. Attend networking events in person (when restrictions allow) and online to tell people about your business. Provide offers on first orders or shout about your corporate cupcakes to get businesses interested too.
Use every opportunity you can find to spread the word about your business and ask happy customers to leave testimonials and reviews on Google, Facebook and on your website too. If someone sends you a message to say thank you for a cake, ask them if you can quote them and create review posts on your Facebook page.
If you have a particular area that you specialise in think about different ways to get your name out there. For wedding cakes talk to other wedding suppliers or venues and see if you can leave your card or flyers in their business premises. For corporate cupcakes, shout about yourself in business network forums and team up with corporate catering firms. If children’s cakes are your thing, speak to other businesses that target children and families such as soft plays, children’s party organisers, children’s clothing retailers or other entertainment businesses.
Keep posting and shouting and customers will flock to your business!
Whether you’re planning to outsource your accounts to an accountant (shop around for a reasonably priced one) or do your own accounts, it’s really important to keep track of your income and outgoings. Keep all receipts when buying ingredients and equipment and write all your orders out with details of how much each customer paid for their bake.
Each month either deliver them to your accountant or enter them on to a spreadsheet. That way you’ll have detailed records of your income and expenditure when it comes to doing your self-assessment tax return.
One of the biggest problems I hear about from new bakers is how to price their bakes. Unfortunately, the answer to that question is like feathers in the wind. But my advice? Work out how much your ingredients will cost for each cake, including boards, boxes and ribbons, then cover your baking costs (electricity or gas) plus however much you’d like to be paid for your time. Experience is the best measure of how long certain cakes will take to create and sometimes you’ll find yourself getting woefully underpaid for your time. Don’t be down-hearted – not all cakes will take hours and you’ll get quicker and more skilful over time.
As a benchmark, do some research into how much other cake bakers are charging for similar cakes and use their prices to gauge your own pricing structure. Once you’ve quoted for a few cakes, write your pricing structure down so you can refer to it easily when customers ask for prices.
Above all, enjoy. Try not to forget, in the stress of finishing cakes for a deadline, that you love baking. Take great care and joy in each cake you bake and it’ll be obvious to your customers how much you love your work.
I hope my run down of tips for starting a cake business from home has been helpful. There is tonnes of support out there for new businesses so be sure to do your research and see who can help and how to get the best out of them.
Anything I’ve missed? Comment below and I’ll do my best to answer any questions.